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I have spent the last 2 hours reading your newsletter and wonderful recipes. I have already printed a whole bunch I want to try. I love them because they are using ingredients one has on hand. I love that and just wanted you to know how much we appreciate all your hard work in putting together this newsletter. Thank you very much.


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       Volume I - October 23, 2007

Cold Night, Simple Supper
by Patty Liston

With just my husband and I at home now, I am always looking for recipes for two or that I can spend time making and then dividing and freezing for future meals. This Slow Cooker Pinto Bean recipe from Paula Deen, is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes.

Since it serves 12, I make it and eat a portion that night, dividing the rest into 3 separate freezer zip-lock bags. Then I have ready-made dinners waiting for those evenings that are a little more hectic than others!

Some things to remember when cooking and freezing:

  • If your freezer bags don’t have a writing block on them, use masking tape. Just tear off a piece and write what food is in the freezer bag, and the date you put it in the freezer. Then tape onto the bag for a ready reference.

  • This recipe calls for one chopped onion. Why not chop 2 onions, and put the second one in a freezer zip-lock to be used for a future recipe.

  • Be sure to buy any beans or lentils close to the time you will be using them. The longer you store the beans, the longer it takes to soften them.

    Slow Cooker Pinto Beans
    Serving: 12
    Cooking Time: 5 hours

    1 pound dry pinto beans
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 pound ham hocks, or 1/4 pound streak o' lean
    4 cups water
    1 onion, chopped
    House Seasoning (recipe follows)

    Wash the beans and soak overnight in cold water. Drain the beans and dump into slow cooker. Stir in chili powder and oregano.

    If using ham hock: Pre-soak ham in a separate pot, for at least 2, or refrigerated up to 24 hours, depending on how salty you want your stock to be. Add ham hock to slow cooker with beans and pour in ham soaking liquid. Add more water until ham hock is completely covered. If using streak o' lean: Cut into cubes, brown in a skillet, and place the meat and any rendered fat in the slow cooker with beans. Pour 4 cups water into pot.

    Add onion to slow cooker with beans and meat. Stir well. Season, to taste, with House Seasoning, cover the pot, and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 5 hours.

    House Seasoning

    1 cup salt
    1/4 cup black pepper
    1/4 cup garlic powder

    Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

    Yield: 1 1/2 cups


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